Inter Island News article by Donna Damon - Dec, 1996
The Cumberland Mainland and Islands Trust (CMIT) is a land trust founded by the Cumber land Conservation Commission and interest ed citizens. It was formed in response to the strong concern that the character of our community be maintained in the face of pres sures from rapidly accelerating development. CMIT is an independent, non-profit organiza tion, open to all. It offers the community a means of preserving for our children the open spaces, the wide range of plant and animal life, and the water resources we now enjoy.
The purpose of CMIT is to identify, protect, and conserve natural resources located in Cumberland and to support sound planning for growth. The Trust works with landowners and the Town to increase understanding of unique historic and environmental qualities and to assist in planning for their conservation. Its activities cover not only our woods and fields but also water resources, scenic vistas, and areas of historic and cultural value. On Chebeague, at least, as part of its concem with maintaining the character of the island com munity, CMIT looks for ways to keep land available for working people.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We need your interest, enthusiasm and back ing. Everyone can bring his own special love of Cumberland, Chebeague, and the other is lands, and offer some knowledge, time, skill, funds, or property. Everyone can volunteer some time to inventory plant life, chart out our historic footpaths, or identify historic sites.
Everyone can become a member of CMIT. Each membership supports CMIT, and only such support can make the work of the Trust possible.
HOW CAN CMIT HELP YOU?
CMIT gives free technical, financial and legal advice to property owners about ways to conserve their property for the future and for the community. No plot is too small; CMIT is ready to advise on ways to maintain even a small traditional footpath.
HOW DOES CMIT PROTECT LAND?
CMIT can either own a piece of land outright or it can hold a conservation easement on the land.
A landowner who wants to preserve a certain piece of land may donate it to CMIT. Such donations provide an income tax deduction; they may also provide a reduction in estate and inheritance taxes and in taxes on real estate. Proximity to protected land may also significantly raise the value of neighboring lands. The donation of land always gives a special personal satisfaction and community recognition.
In some cases, where donation is not possible, CMIT may raise funds to acquire key land areas by purchase. It is possible to combine both approaches through the mechanism of a 'bargain sale'.
A Conservation easement allows the land owner to restrict the future use of a certain element on his property while keeping title to the land. That can be as simple as protecting some favorite blueberry bushes, a scenic vista, or access to the shore. The owner and CMIT together determine the precise terms of the easement. These terms, set out in a legal document, become a permanent part of the title to the property, and future owners are also bound by them. The owner retains all other rights of ownership; he can still use the land and can still sell it. The easement remains with the land as a contribution to the com munity's future.
Cumberland is a remarkable community in which to live. Please help keep it that way by becoming a member of the Cumberland Main land and Islands Trust.